It is finally the morning of my surgery. I try not to think about the day ahead of me. What my body will go through over the next several hours and how I will feel and what will I look like when I wake up. No, it’s too much, so I decide to concentrate on just getting to the hospital on time. That’s my focus.
My oldest son had come home from Boston the night before and we had a nice dinner and visit. I told him not to worry about waking up early to come to the hospital with since I had to be there at 5:30 am. Just to come later to keep Dad company and to bring him a coffee and paper. It was going to be a long day. Honestly, I did not want him to see me being prepped for surgery. I don’t think that I could have kept it together if he was in the room.
I surprisingly slept pretty well that night, woke up, did a short meditation, kissed Pat goodbye and off we went to the hospital. Jack kept looking at me on our way to hospital and commented on how calm I seemed. I was calm, I felt at peace. I had asked all of my family and friends to think of me this morning and to mentally wrap me in a warm, fuzzy, pink blanket and to send me thoughts of peace, love and tranquility. I honestly felt that positive energy.
Now don’t get me wrong. I didn’t want to do this but I knew without a doubt that it was that it was the right decision for me. I had confidence in my surgeons and I was ready to get on with my life. I think of it as a door that I have to walk through to get to the other side, but the other side of that door represents health and getting my life back!
We arrive at the hospital and while we are waiting to be called into pre-op, my cousin, Cindy, shows up holding 2 Q tips. She said, “I brought the girls with me.” Well the two of us just cracked up. Jack is looking at us like we are crazy but we are laughing so hard that we cannot explain to him what we are laughing at. You see our mother’s were sisters and as they grew older and shrunk in stature, that when Cindy’s mother would pick up my mother, the two of them looked like Qtips driving off. All you could see was their white hair! Family joke. She made me laugh on a day that I thought it would have been impossible to laugh. Thank you Cindy.
I was then called into pre op. The first person I met was the Anesthesiologist and she was completely on board with reading my healing statements and enthusiastically took my list. They had already started my IV, so that took the edge off. I told her about my concerns of getting sick like I was after my first surgery, but the last one I was fine so if they could use the same formula, that would be great. I did tell her however that I remember being wheeled into the operating room and I found that very disturbing. She assured me that she would use the same formula as the year before and that I would not see the OR. One thing that I have learned over the years is that you may not get everything in life that you ask for, but if you don’t ask you won’t get anything. She then explained to me that she was going to administer a block, similar to an epidural, in my upper back. This would greatly diminish post operative pain. That sounds good to me!
Next to come in was my surgeon, Dr Cash. She reviewed the mastectomy with me and asked if I had any questioned. I didn’t. Either the drugs had kicked in or I was questioned out. I was just ready to get this over with.
The last doctor to come in was my plastic surgeon, Dr Parikh. He would do the reconstruction and the nipple sparing portion of the surgery and place the implants. Again he reviewed my surgery, asked if Jack and I had any questions but it is what he did next that I will forever grateful to him for. He turned to Jack, looked him in the eye told Jack how much he loved his wife and that he knew by seeing us together how much Jack loved me. He then promised Jack that as one husband to another that he would take care of me as he would want his wife to be take care of. I could see Jack’s eyes well up but there was also a sense of relief. The focus obviously had been on me, the patient, the whole time but it is an awful thing to watch someone you love go through this and feel helpless. Dr Parikh reached out to Jack and said “I get what you ‘re going through. It was a wonderful gift and we are both so grateful to him.
He then started to make me for surgery. Oh God, moment of panic. This is really going to happen. Mercifully, the meds must have kicked in so I don’t remember much after that.